10 German Travel Phrases 🏝

Before heading off on a holiday, perhaps to a land filled with pretzels and techno clubs, it may come in handy to download some useful German travel phrases onto your brain , along with the “Hot Girl Summer” song you may have already downloaded onto your phone 😉.

strawberry ice pop and club mate drink

This is an article for intermediate learners, so very simple phrases like “Ein Bier bitte” and “Guten Tag” won’t be covered here. Instead, the phrases in this list will provide you with helpful building blocks you may use to form more advanced, eloquent sentences about your trip, in German, whilst you tuck into your Spaghettieis.

1. Der Geheimtipp

Have you ever been on holiday and found a restaurant or a sight that is little known, but absolutely amazing? If so, you found a Geheimtipp. A Geheimtipp is a quality place that has a certain charm in part because it isn’t filled with tourists. The reason for this is because it isn’t so well known; as if the locals have been keeping it a secret from the crowds of tourists.

However, next time you’re on holiday, perhaps you’ll get lucky when asking a local:

Ich bin nächstes Wochenende in Berlin! Hast du ein paar Geheimtipps für mich?

I'm in Berlin next weekend! Do you know of any hidden gems?

Or perhaps you’ll stumble upon a Geheimtipp by chance, and could say something like:

Heute bin ich zufällig auf ein tolles Café gestoßen. Ich glaube, das ist ein richtiger Geheimtipp!

Today I stumbled upon an amazing cafe by chance. I think it's a real hidden gem!

2. Die Touristenfalle 🍭

When on holiday, you may come across certain low-quality tourist attractions and services that are meant to entice those looking for a quick and easy-to-find place to go, in order to pass the time. They may be mediocre and tacky, and are often overpriced 😩.

When you go to such a place, you may even leave feeling like you were given a superficial impression of the culture, and may have noticed that the place was full of tourists, with no locals in sight. Some people enjoy the convenience of such places, but for those who don’t, they can be referred to as: tourist traps.

So, next time you’re on holiday, you might find it useful to remember this term. Example use case sentences include:

Wir wollen die Touristenfallen vermeiden. Bitte hilf uns doch und gib uns ein paar Geheimtipps.

Today I stumbled upon an amazing cafe by chance. I think it's a real hidden gem!
Meiner Meinung nach ist der Weihnachtsmarkt am Alexanderplatz eine Touristenfalle. Der mittelalterliche Weihnachtsmarkt in Friedrichshain ist viel charmanter.

Today I stumbled upon an amazing cafe by chance. I think it's a real hidden gem!

(Das ist ein echter Tipp. Die haben sehr leckere Baumstriezel.)

3. … In der Umgebung 🏘

Sometimes it can be useful to ask around for Geheimtipps in the area you are staying. Die Umgebung is the Kreis or Bereich in which one is staying. If you know the whereabouts of some hidden gems in the area, you can kill two birds with one stone by visiting interesting, quality places, without having to travel around the city all day. Or, perhaps for those who do love to explore all the far corners of a given travel destination, it may be enough to just know which little cafe in the area one may visit every morning, for a reliable cup of coffee ️.

Either way, it may come in handy to remember the phrase: In der Umgebung. Here are some example use case sentences:

Kannst du mir hier etwas in der Umgebung empfehlen

Can you recommend something in the area?
Gibt es in der Umgebung eine gute Bäckerei?

Is there a good bakery in the area?

4. sich nach etw. erkundigen 📞

It’s always a good idea to plan ahead of your holiday ☝️; to seek any information that may be useful to you on your trip. Sich nach etw. erkundigen means just this - to seek information / to ask about something, looking for helpful information.

For example, you may have booked a dinner on the beach during your holiday, but would like to ask for more information regarding the exact location 📍. Or, you may have booked your hotel but would like to ask if they offer specific food at the breakfast buffet. To ask for this information, you could say:

Ich möchte mich nach dem genauen Ort für das Abendessen erkundigen, das ich für heute Abend gebucht habe.

I'd like to enquire about the exact location for the dinner I booked for this evening.
Ich möchte mich erkundigen, ob das Frühstücksbuffet auch vegetarische Speisen anbietet?

I'd like to enquire about whether the breakfast buffet offers vegetarian meals, too?

5. keine Sekunde vergeuden 🗓

Some people love to make the most out of the time they have on holiday. They wake up early, maybe as early as the sun rises, to double check their plan for the day, packed with a number of activities to do and sights to see 👁.

First there’ll be a morning hike through the mountains 🏔, before a tour of the city, then a quick train ride to a cheese tasting in the countryside 🧀, then back to the city for a dinner that was booked weeks in advance, and a night of dancing at an edgy fetish party held in a medieval castle 🏰.

Do you know someone like this 😏? In any case, not a minute should be wasted!

Wir haben einen aufregenden Tag vor uns. Lass uns keine Sekunde vergeuden!

We have an exciting day ahead of us. Let's not waste a second of it!
Während der Corona Pandemie habe ich so viel Zeit in meiner Wohnung verbracht, dass ich richtiges Reisefieber bekommen habe. Jetzt sind wir nach so langer Zeit endlich wieder im Urlaub und ich will keine Sekunde vergeuden!

During the Corona pandemic, I spent so much of my time in the flat, that I caught holiday fever pretty badly. Now, after such a long time, we're finally on holiday and don't want to waste a second of it!

6. etw. durchplanen / etw. bis ins letzte Detail planen 🙇🏾

For those who love to plan every detail of their holiday, the phrase “etw. bis ins letzte Detail planen” may come in handy.

There are some holiday destinations that are full of fascinating things to explore and experience . For example, Berlin has an abundance of quality clubs, spas and museums to offer. So, in order to fit in as much as you can in a short amount of time, one might like to plan ahead and get organized 💪. Example sentences using the “etw. bis ins letzte Detail planen” include:

Ich habe unser Wochenende bis ins letzte Detail geplant. Du brauchst dir keine Sorgen zu machen!

I have planned our weekend down to the last detail. You have nothing to worry about!
Wir sollten die nächsten Tage bis ins letzte Detail planen, um weder die Berlin Biennale noch das Konzert am Sonntag zu verpassen.

We should plan the next few days down to the last detail so as not to miss either the Berlin Biennale or the concert on Sunday.

7. es sich gut gehen lassen 🍷

Whilst some people love to make the most out of their holiday by filling it with activities 🏄, others are perfectly content with lots of relaxation and restoration 🍸.

This may be done by booking a relaxing holiday by the sea, or retreating into nature by spending your trip in a cabin in the woods. What’s important here is the idea of just letting go, or to: sich gut gehen lassen.

Ich bin so froh, dass ich mit meinem Projekt fertig bin und es mir endlich gut gehen lassen kann.

I'm so happy to be done with my project and finally be able to just let go and have a good time.
Gestern hatten wir so einen anstrengenden Tag! Heute möchte ich es mir einfach gut gehen lassen.

Yesterday we had such a busy day! Today I just want to let go and have a good time.

8. auf gut Glück 🔮

Sometimes, some people enjoy keeping holiday planning to a bare minimum, as in not planning much at all and letting each day bring new, spontaneous adventures 🤹‍♂️.

For example, you may book a flight to a remote destination you’ve never visited before, just like that. No plan. No wishlist. Just your passport and, hopefully, the eyes of god watching over you 👁👁. Whether it’s a whole holiday left unplanned, or perhaps just a day to see where your mood takes you, a helpful expression to describe this intentional spontaneity is: auf gut Glück, as in:

Wir sind einfach auf gut Glück nach Griechenland geflogen und hatten eine großartige Zeit.

We just flew to Greece on a whim and had a great time.


Ich habe ganz vergessen, mich zu erkundigen, welche Restaurants es hier in der Umgebung gibt. Lass uns morgen einfach auf gut Glück versuchen, einen leckeren Italiener zu finden.

I forgot to ask what restaurants there are in the area. Let's just be spontaneous tomorrow, and see if we just happen to find a tasty Italian restaurant.

9. jdn. auf die Folter spannen 💥

Have you ever booked a holiday for your partner or friend, but didn’t tell them the destination until the day you took your flight ✈️?

Or have you ever planned a special day, or activity during a trip abroad, that your partner or friend knew about except for some really important details, like where the event is being held, or what type of food to expect 🍝?

If you have, then you have kept someone waiting in suspense, or you intend to excite somebody by purposefully hiding details about your plan. There is a phrase in German that expresses this: jdn. auf die Folter spannen. To use this phrase, you may say something like:

Gestern habe ich Sam zum Essen eingeladen, ihm aber nicht gesagt, wohin wir fahren. Ich habe ihn die ganze Autofahrt lang auf die Folter gespannt.

Yesterday I took Sam out to dinner, but didn't tell him where we were going. I kept him in suspense the whole car ride.
Kannst du mir bitte endlich verraten, wo du heute Abend einen Tisch reserviert hast? Spann mich doch bitte nicht so auf die Folter! Ich halt es nicht mehr aus!

Can you please finally tell me where you have reserved a table tonight? Please don't keep me in suspense like this! I can't stand it anymore!

10. Urlaub auf Balkonien machen 🍹

This phrase is for those of us who, once in a while, enjoy a good holiday spent in the comfort of our own home… or, yes, balconies 🏠.

As this phrase quite literally suggests, “Urlaub auf Balkonien machen”, means to relax and enjoy what one has to offer at home already 😌, rather than to travel somewhere else.

So, for example, many people, perhaps against their wishes, would have spent their recent holidays in "Balkonien 😉", due to the Corona restrictions. Many people living in Berlin also enjoy their holidays in "Balkonien" over the summer, as the city is arguably most alive during this season 💃. Example sentences using this phrase include:

Dieses Jahr müssen wir ein bisschen Geld sparen. Sollen wir nicht einfach Urlaub auf Balkonien machen?

This year we need to save a little money. Shouldn't we just holiday in 'Balkonien'?
Während der Corona-Pandemie haben wir auf Balkonien Urlaub gemacht. Das war auch sehr schön!

During the Corona pandemic, we took a vacation in 'Balkonien'. That was also very nice!
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